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Modi and Putin Will Discuss a ‘Cascade of Nuclear Reactors’ from Russia at Summit

Dec. 8, 2014 (EIRNS)—At the press briefing in New Delhi as a primer to the Dec. 10 visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his summit talks with Indian Premier Narendra Modi, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said, "We have big plans on nuclear energy cooperation." Kadakin pointed out that "cooperation between the two countries in peaceful uses of nuclear energy will prominently figure at the summit level talks" and Russia is looking to increasing the number of pressurized water reactors to be supplied to India from 14-16 to 20-24. Kadakin referred to it as "another cascade of nuclear reactors" from Russia.

Russia has so far set up two VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors of 1000MW capacity at Kudankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and is working towards setting up four such reactors at the same site. Of the two, one has been commissioned while the other is likely to be commissioned in March 2015, according to Kadakin.

While there is no doubt that more nuclear reactors supplied by Russia is good news for India since India is hard-pressed for power, and there is no other country in sight which could concretize a nuclear power plant supply contract in the near term, the key issue here is the focus. What would benefit India the most is bulk supply of these reactors. For instance, if Russia commits to supplying India between six and eight reactors every other year starting 2016, that would make a real impact on India’s power-starved scene.

In addition to the financial commitment that India needs in order to meet those imports, Modi will have to do the needful as well. That means, fast procurement of land, immediate selection of contractors and breaking ground for the construction work within three months. The lag time between supply of the nuclear power plant set (NPPS), a responsibility of the Russians, and completing the construction to install the NPPS is usually 18-24 months.